New Report: Brands in Recovery

Pandemic paralysis for marketing

The COVID-19 pandemic has left brands in crisis and senior marketing decision makers in a state of paralysis according to a new report by Don’t Cry Wolf. Stephen Waddington, founder of Wadds Inc. and NED at Don’t Cry Wolf delves into the findings. 

CMOs are facing budget cuts of up to 25% in 2021 as a result of COVID-19.

More than a third of marketing bosses have prioritised digital marketing as a means of making up revenue shortfalls caused by lockdown.

This is despite two-thirds acknowledging a mismatch in expectations between brands and consumers since the outset of the pandemic.

These are the headlines of a new report by Don’t Cry Wolf called Brands in Recovery.


Help. Get us out of this!

We spoke to 50 CMOs from a range of businesses in July about their marketing priorities as the UK emerged from lockdown.

The hard data tells a brutal story.

Our research finds that marketing teams face the contradictory challenge of helping brands make up the revenue shortfall from lockdown and overhauling brands to ensure that they’re fit for purpose.
We’ve called it pandemic paralysis.

Two in five interviewees cited changing consumer behaviour as a key reason for prioritising ad spend. More than a third report feeling under increasing pressure from the C-Suite to get marketing right.
“Marketers are panicking and instead of taking a moment to step back, understand consumer behaviour and reposition their brand, they’re shelling out cash on advertising and hoping something sticks,” said Don’t Cry Wolf founder John Brown.

“There is nothing wrong with spending budgets on targeted digital advertising. But, if the destination CMOs are driving people towards is not fit-for-purpose and alienating the consumer, then they’ll be facing some tough questions from around the board table,” he added.

Brands in Recovery reflects on the effects on COVID-19 and recommends how brands should best to prepare for the future.

Consumers have changed. Brands need to do the same

KPMG reports that CEOs’ top priority is to evaluate their company’s purpose or accelerate initiatives focused on the environment, society and governance (ESG).

Deloitte has highlighted how buying patterns have fundamentally changed, and 70% of consumers are prepared to stick to this change in purchasing behaviour.

Even Google recognises the folly of doubling down on digital advertising. It describes modern consumer purchasing behaviour as messy, requiring constant engagement around information, validation, and experience.

How we get back on track

We’re running a couple of webinars on 7 and 14 October where we’ll explore the findings of the Brands in Recovery report and ask industry experts what brands should be doing to get back on track.

We have firm opinions about what we think CMOs and marketing teams need to do to support brands and plan for 2021.

You’d be welcomed to join us.

I joined the management team at Don’t Cry Wolf in July as a non executive director. Brands in Recovery is typical of our work as a brand activism agency asking challenging questions of consumers, brands and their owners.

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